What do I do at the scene of a motorcycle accident?
Motorcycle accidents can have serious physical and financial consequences for motorcyclists. If you are injured in a motorcycle accident caused by someone else's negligence on the road, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and other damages.
Unfortunately, biases against motorcyclists can make it difficult for injured riders to receive a fair settlement offer or financial award. Experienced legal representation can help, as can your actions at the scene of the accident. If the injuries sustained in the crash do not prevent you from moving, taking photos and collecting other evidence at the scene can help strengthen your insurance claim or lawsuit, and increase your chances for a successful outcome.
After a motorcycle accident, here is what you can do on the scene to protect yourself and your ability to seek compensation.
Check for Injuries
Safety comes first. Assess yourself for injuries and, if able, check on the drivers and passengers in any vehicles involved in the accident. Call for an ambulance if anyone needs immediate medical attention.
Move Out of the Roadway
If your motorcycle is in the roadway obstructing traffic, move it if it is safe to do so. Snap a quick photo of the bike's placement first, if possible. Use flares or set up emergency triangles to alert oncoming vehicles of any remaining hazards in the roadway.
Exchange contact and insurance information with the drivers of any vehicles involved in the accident. Make sure to write down each driver's name, address, phone number, and license number. In addition to contact and insurance information, it is important to write down information about each vehicle, including car make, model, plate number, and description.
Report the Accident to the Police
If you had to call for an ambulance, the police should be on their way as well. Otherwise, you will need to call the police to report the accident. Delaware law requires drivers to report accidents that result in injury or death, cause more than $500 in property damage, or involve an intoxicated or drugged driver.
The officers who respond will talk to everyone involved and complete an accident report. These reports cannot be used to prove negligence in court, but they can provide valuable information for your personal injury attorney or insurance company, so be sure to request a copy for your records.
Speak to Witnesses
Eyewitness accounts that back up your own version of events can help your personal injury claim or lawsuit. After you have checked yourself and others for injuries, speak to any witnesses at the scene to find out what they saw. Write down contact information for each witness so that your attorney can contact them in the future, if necessary.
Gather Photo and Video Evidence
It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words but, in motorcycle accident personal injury cases, a picture could be worth thousands of dollars—or more—in compensation. Photos and videos taken at the scene of a motorcycle accident can paint a clearer picture for the insurance adjuster, judge or jury deciding your case. After a motorcycle accident, make sure to take video or photos of:
- Your injuries
- Damage to your motorcycle
- Relevant road or weather conditions at the accident scene
Notify Your Insurance Provider
While this step does not necessarily have to occur at the scene of the motorcycle accident, it is important not to let too much time pass before reporting the crash to your insurance provider. Many motorcycle insurance policies require motorcyclists to report their accident within a reasonable amount of time or risk having their claim denied. However, what the insurance company considers “reasonable” amount of time to report an accident could be as short as a day or two.
What to Avoid
The following things may harm your chances of recovering fair compensation:
- Reflexively apologizing or accepting blame for the accident
- Providing a recorded statement to an insurance company
- Accepting an on-the-spot settlement offer before the extent of injuries and property damage is known
- Taking cash instead of reporting the accident to the proper authorities
Consult an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorney
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident that wasn't your fault, the knowledgeable attorneys with the Morris James Personal Injury Group can help you pursue the compensation you deserve. Do you have questions about your case? Contact us today to arrange an appointment for a free initial case consultation.